Posted by Vi Warkentin on
Almost there - to Ollantaytambo, that is. Say it with me: oy-yahn-tie-tahm-bo - it’s a bit of a tongue twister but it sounds quite melodic once mastered. The locals call it Ollanta.
Located at the northwestern edge of the Sacred Valley and about 100 kms from Cuzco, Ollantaytambo (population approx. 2000) is nestled at the foot of an ancient Inca site (more on that in future posts). The valley is considerably more narrow here than at Pisac and I think this gives it a much more dramatic setting.
Fields surrounding Ollantaytambo.
Ollantaytambo is called a living Inca town in that many of its inhabitants actually live in homes built on the bases of an ancient Inca town. Many historians and scientists consider Ollantaytambo to be one of the most important living museums in the world.
A very small market takes over a lot as seen here in the foreground of the photo below.
And by now, you’ve probably wondered what is that on the side of the mountain behind the town.
Below, just right of the centre of the photo are storage houses (bins) built into the rock by the Incas. The wind that gathers in this spot from the meeting of the three valleys in this region made this a perfect spot to build the granaries - here the temperature is 3-4 degrees cooler than on the valley floor. Also being quite difficult to access, these storage places might have been a place to keep food supplies safe from thieves or from the risk of flooding. Just to the left of the storage houses is, what appears to be, an Inca face carved into the rock.
There was a slight drizzle in the area the day we were there but this did not deter us from exploring this very inviting town - I adore this street - it has incredible charm.
Ollantaytambo is the best preserved Inca town in Peru, with its narrow alleys, street water canals and trapezoidal doorways. Walking along these streets built in Inca times gives this place a magical atmosphere.
The narrow irrigated alleys of Ollantaytambo.
Ollantaytambo has been occupied continuously since the mid 1400’s. More on daily life in Ollantaytambo to come.
Day 5 - Friendly Planet - Amazing Peru Tour